Wednesday Wardrobe: Thrifty Fans

  • By Natalie Bradshaw
  • 07 Jun, 2017

This week on Wednesday Wardrobe, Natalie teaches us how to make fantastic feather showgirl hand fans, in a thrifty fashion!

thrifty hand fans
Charlotte models our hand fans - learn how to make them here!
Hello, and welcome to our very first Wednesday Wardrobe!

Each week we will be bringing you a different blog post, or video, or both (!), taking you backstage and behind the scenes of our wardrobe department, as we prepare for each of our upcoming shows. Learn with our step by step videos how to create our props and costumes - or follow our tips for how to find the best bargains for specific dance numbers and performances.

We really hope that you find our new blogs interesting and informative - and if you think of anything that you would like to see us talking about, let us know by commenting below! Don't forget to let us know if you try to make your own version of our feature each week too!
This week, we are going to show you how to recreate our beautiful hand fans, which we first made in 2016, for our Miss V & The Beamers Touring show, which helped to raise £4,000 for St Wilfrid's Hospice, Eastbourne in August that year. Whilst we were making them, we made a short video, demonstrating a step by step guide in how we managed to keep the cost down, whilst ensuring the fans were stunning on stage - take a look below!
So, we can't call our hand fans "thrifty" without proving that they are, can we? So here's a pricing break down, as if you were to buy everything from scratch:

Pricing Breakdown

Insulation: £9.13 per square metre (wickes.co.uk)
Glue Gun: £10.00 (Hobbycraft)
Glue Sticks (2 sticks): £0.66 (Hobbycraft)
Felt: £0.89 (Hobbycraft)
Feathers (8 large, 4 small): £39.44 (Feathers UK)

All prices are current for 2017.

Total: £60.12

We love this price! The ones we found to be bought online were minimum £100 - and that was before shipping, and without being able to choose our own colours. Of course, you can reduce the price, by using less feathers for example - and £10.00 of that price is for the purchase of a glue gun, which I didn't have before - so technically, the fan costs £50.12 - that's nearly half the price of a ready made hand fan!

Step-by-step how to create:

Making the hand fans didn't take too long - we had four to create, and completed them all in one afternoon. A handy tip before we begin, is to be super organised, for speed. Have all of your equipment laid out and ready to use - that means turning your glue gun on before you need it, and counting out feathers for each fan as well!

1. Cutting the insulation

Here's the time to admit that the insulation was cut by one of our crew members, and not the wardrobe team. Our reason? We wanted nice, rounded edges, and let's be honest, that was never going to happen if Natalie was holding a jigsaw! This is the base for your fan, so you need it it to be the right shape, size and finish that you are looking for! I have been told it's easy enough to cut yourself - you can even use a manual saw, and just make sure you wear a face mask to avoid the dust! If you're making more than one fan, use the first you cut, as a template for the rest - this way they are evenly shaped too.

2. Covering the bases

Glueing the felt on to the board was probably my most favourite bit. You don't need much glue - just enough to make sure you have no flapping pieces when you are finished! Stand the base up and glue that side first, and then pull the wider sides nice and tight for a clean finish. Make sure to then cut off any excess (save that for later) and fold over the edges, to really make sure the felt is securely on the insulation.

3. Laying on the feathers

Count out your feathers, and mark with a pen where you would like them to go BEFORE you go pushing them in. The more holes you create, the weaker the base will get, so aim to only insert the feathers once you are certain where you want them placing. Push them in, then pull them out, insert the glue, and reinsert the feather. Another handy tip here, don't forget to make sure all your feathers are facing the correct way!  Do the larger feathers first, and then repeat the process with the smaller, decorative ones.

4. Finishing them off

The video doesn't actually show us adding the final touches to the fans. We noticed that some of the insulation was showing still, and so we took some of the excess left over felt, and glued it on to make a seam, as such, around the feathers. This gave more security, and really finished off the hand fans.
And there we go! That is how Full Beam Productions' Wardrobe Team managed to keep down the cost of showgirl hand fans. They are still with us too - we used the recently for our Swing With a Difference show, raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Trust - and we are certain they will appear again in the future!

Are you going to have a go at making our feathery fans? If you do, don't forget to send a photo, so we can see!

Thanks for joining us for Wednesday Wardrobe - click on the blog for more!

Next week: Budget buying costumes - the best high street stores for purchasing fabulous looking costumes!

What's Happening

By Natalie Bradshaw 10 Oct, 2017
Eastbourne is playing host to a BRAND NEW singing competition!

We need audience members for Shine Bright Tonight, which is happening on 15th November at TJ's Nightclub, Eastbourne! With six artists from the local area battling it out in front of our panel of three judges, it's set to be an amazing night - with a cash prize up for grabs for the lucky winner!

For the audience, it's a night to remember, filled with excellent music from hand selected young performers. You never know, you could be watching a future star! You'll get to hear feedback from our judges, including industry professionals and representatives from BBC, and mingle with owners of some of the biggest businesses in town.

On arrival, there's a complimentary drink, and then to sweeten the deal, all money from the bar on the night goes to Children In Need - supporting an amazing cause!

This is not a night to be missed, but tickets are limited - so make sure you visit the website to purchase tickets now!

See you there!
By Natalie Bradshaw 25 Aug, 2017
Once again, we have compiled a newsletter , so you can see what we are up to!
By Natalie Bradshaw 08 Aug, 2017
With August well and truly underway, we've been taking our Summer Fiesta show to care homes in Sussex. With a few more to go, we look at some of the highlights so far.
By Natalie Bradshaw 16 Jul, 2017
Natalie Bradshaw takes the time to think about the residents who have been with us from the beginning, who are sadly no longer here.
By Natalie Bradshaw 08 Jun, 2017
When myself and Jim decided to approach care homes with activities and entertainment, it was new territory to us both. We had worked hard, for many years, as members of teams at resorts worldwide - working our way up from Animation to Team Leader, to Management - and so we had a good idea as to how to put together performances targeted at certain audience types, but care homes presented a whole new range of obstacles to overcome.

We have been providing activities now for nearly two years, and working closely with some of the biggest care home providers in the UK has certainly helped to shape our business, performers, and the shows we put together - and now, we are pushing forward with putting Full Beam Productions at the head of a new era of care home entertainment; one which comes away from war time classics, and sleepy songs, and instead creates excitement, smiles, laughter and fun for that short hour in which we are invited into the lives of those being cared for.

It's a very rewarding business to be in, but it's also one which needs to be done correctly for it to be effective. Today, I'm breaking down exactly how Full Beam Productions works, and how our approach puts a refreshing new spin on activities, and hopefully takes a step towards shaping the future of entertainment in a care home environment.
By Natalie Bradshaw 07 Jun, 2017
Hello, and welcome to our very first Wednesday Wardrobe!

Each week we will be bringing you a different blog post, or video, or both (!), taking you backstage and behind the scenes of our wardrobe department, as we prepare for each of our upcoming shows. Learn with our step by step videos how to create our props and costumes - or follow our tips for how to find the best bargains for specific dance numbers and performances.

We really hope that you find our new blogs interesting and informative - and if you think of anything that you would like to see us talking about, let us know by commenting below! Don't forget to let us know if you try to make your own version of our feature each week too!
By Natalie Bradshaw 28 Mar, 2017
In June 2016, Full Beam Productions owners, Natalie Bradshaw & Jim Pyle, were introduced to Nicole Allen - a girl with so much energy, and so much enthusiasm for life, despite suffering from the illness cystic fibrosis.

Nicole travelled around all of the care home performances, and 14 consecutive showings of Miss V & The Beamers throughout Summer, with the company, and the creative team were quick to cast her as the lead role in the James Penguin: Christmas Impossible  pantomime that December too - there was nobody better for the tap dancing, Agent P role!

As Jim & Natalie sat down at the end of 2016, to discuss which charity should be chosen for fundraising the next year, it seemed like there was no other option as good as this one - raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust was the first, and final decision.

"Nicole was inspirational throughout the tour - she had completed a month away from home before coming to the final rehearsal, and hitting the road for 14 consecutive shows. She could have told us that it was too much, that she was tired - but she persevered until the very end, and continues to do so even now. She's a true member of the Full Beam Team, and we want to help her - and supporting this charity does exactly that."
By Natalie Bradshaw 09 Mar, 2017
Jim Pyle discusses the history of swing music, plus how to choose between tribute artists, vocal groups, or a spectacle which is not to be missed.
By Natalie Bradshaw 27 Dec, 2016
2016 has been a whilrlwind year for Full Beam Productions. We sat down this weekend, whilst enjoying a few festive days off, and managed to flick through some of our old photos and videos, from the past year, and we are amazed by how far our little company has come in such a short space of time. So we thought we would make a video, to show you how great it has been, and to say thank you for being there, every step of the way!
By Natalie Bradshaw 14 Nov, 2016
Edited February 2017.
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